On Thursday, Republicans who control the Arizona Senate announced they plan to perform a total recount of 2.1 million ballots in the state’s highest-population county to ensure that President Joe Biden’s November win was legitimate.
Senate President Karen Fann (R) had been calling for a “full forensic audit” of Maricopa County’s election result and won a court order on February 26 granting the Senate access to the ballots and tabulation machines. Until this week, according to the Associated Press, she had never expressed that she wanted a complete recount, something Arizona law doesn’t permit except in narrow situations.
Some GOP supporters of former President Donald Trump allege there was election fraud in Arizona and other swing states that caused his 2020 loss. Fann said she wants to answer their questions one way or the other, according to the AP.
On Thursday, Fann announced that she had decided on a “preferred forensic audit team” to supervise the recount but did not disclose the firm’s name, explaining she was still hammering out the final details, according to The Arizona Mirror.
She had previously been eyeing a company with deep ties to Trump’s campaign, per the AP, but announced last month that it was not being considered anymore. The Allied Security Operations Group collaborated with Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to promote allegations of election fraud and counting errors in Arizona and other states.
Fann’s announcement said she now plans to do a total hand recount of the ballots, as well as testing the tabulation machines and rescanning every ballot from Maricopa. The county, however, has already performed such a test using federally certified firms, who discovered no problems with the machines—in addition to scanning and hand counting all 2.1 million ballots, according to The Mirror.
“When all the work is done, there will be a full report for the Senate and County to review,” Fann said in a statement. “Our voters expect this audit, and it can be a big step in returning trust and confidence in our election process.”
While Fann said she hopes the effort is bipartisan, Arizona Senate Democrats have shot down that notion.
“We never wanted anything to do with that,” said Assistant Minority Leader Lupe Contreras (D), per the AP. “I guess you could say we worked in a bipartisan way, since we backed the Board of Supervisors, which is all Republican but one,” Contreras said.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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Videotapes from Jan. 6 Committee Witness Interviews Vanish
Videotapes containing witness interviews conducted by the Democrat-led January 6 congressional committee have disappeared. The chairman of the House Administration oversight subcommittee, Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.), expressed his apprehension on the “Just the News, No Noise” television show.
According to Loudermilk, all videotapes of depositions have vanished, raising questions about the preservation of crucial evidence. He argued that, under House rules, these tapes qualified as congressional evidence, especially since some clips were aired during hearings. Loudermilk contended that the tapes should have been preserved by the now-defunct Jan. 6 committee and its chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.).
Loudermilk’s revelation has broader implications, potentially impacting criminal trials in both state court in Georgia and federal court in Washington, where individuals, including former President Donald Trump, face charges related to the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021. Notably, Trump’s legal team had recently requested evidence from the Jan. 6 committee but was denied by a judge.
The situation takes a further twist as Loudermilk disclosed that the J6 committee had sent certain evidence, such as transcripts, to the Biden White House and the Homeland Security Department. Shockingly, these transcripts have now been returned to Loudermilk’s GOP-led subcommittee almost entirely redacted, preventing the disclosure of their contents.
The lack of records regarding witnesses, their statements, and the extensive redactions have raised concerns among House Republicans. Loudermilk emphasized that these documents belong to the House and should not have been sent in such a heavily redacted form. The chairman questioned the motives behind the redactions, asking why a Democrat-run House was allowed to have unredacted documents while a Republican committee’s efforts were obstructed. This development adds another layer of complexity to the ongoing investigations into the events surrounding January 6, 2021.
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